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Amenity zone possibilities for project discussed

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham Planning Board members reviewed the ongoing Eton Reconstruction Project as a pre-application discussion during its meeting on Wednesday, July 12, providing input on what could potentially give the proposed District Lofts, 325 S. Eton, five extra feet from the amenity space.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time on South Eton and what to do with the space with the multi-modal transportation board. They finally made a recommendation for a concept that goes to the city commission on July 24,” said senior planner Brooks Cowan.

The city has applied for a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant which uses federal funds designated by congress for activities that enhance intermodal transportation systems and provide safe alternative transportation options, per the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) website. According to its website, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) allocates the grants between two programs based on SEMCOG TAP priorities.

Cowan said there were a couple items in the multi-modal transportation board’s recommendation that are contingent on the city receiving the grant. One of the items is an improvement to the Eton and Maple intersection for connectivity. MDOT and SEMCOG want to see connectivity from 14 Mile Road to 15 Mile Road and beyond for the TAP grants, according to Cowan.

When officials for District Lofts, at 325 S. Eton, came before the planning board, they were asked to move the building back five feet to allow for an amenity zone. At this block, Eton is between 37 to 38 feet whereas everything south, said Cowan, is 40 feet. If the city is awarded the TAP grant, the road would be narrowed down to 33 feet, allowing the the amenity zone to move, which would give back five feet to the building for the easement a block north. District Lofts would get an additional amount of square footage back to the building, essentially giving the space back rather than having the building move over five feet, said planning director Nick Dupuis.

“What does that mean to parking? What does that mean to lot coverage? What does that mean to any of that? It seems to me that shifting it over five feet is the easier approach because everything we looked at was approved,” said chairperson Scott Clein.

Bert Koseck said the preference would be to leave the building where it was approved and if the city is awarded the grant, the bonus space would make a greater amenity zone. Bryan Williams agreed ,noting the problem with the multi-modal transportation board’s recommendation is it would change the square footage of the District Lofts when the board doesn’t fully understand what that means.

No formal action was taken as the item was a pre-application discussion.


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